New Year’s Resolution #3: Get Involved

Resolution #3 is to take the time and energy to be actively involved with my creative communities. I’m a little hit-and-miss on that one. It’s hard to find my local creative community, and being quite honest, a little harder to find common ground with them. Well, I’m taking the effort. Will track them down. Will take brownies and chips. We’ll see what happens.

I’m a little better with online communities, at least in part because I can cherry pick the parts I like. No one on the internet has ever asked me to help them move, for instance. And finding people who are working on the same challenges I am is sooo much easier.

So, I’m working with some groups to get to where I want to be.

I’m taking on the 52 Week Writing Challenge (Found it on Medium.)in 2017. The challenge is to write one something every week for a year. There’s no specific something it has to be, but something. A poem or a book chapter every week. I’ve already talked about my desire to write and publish more short stories, so **surprise** I’m going to commit to writing one short story every week in 2017.

Fifty-two short stories. That means four for the A-to-Z Challenge in April, and four for the StoryTime Blog Hop. Probably one or two for my blog during the Holidays. That leaves forty-two that I can submit to magazines or contests. Which, all said and done, would probably do wonders for my career.

I’m going to hold off on committing to NaNoWriMo until closer to the date. I might be ready for a new project on November 1st and I might not.

As always, I’ll be jabbering away at the Holly’s Writing Classes Forums… Which are really one of the most supportive and stable writers’ forums I’ve come across. And keeping up with this blog (which may or may not be less solipsistic in the future. Prob’ly not.)

And I will be jumping back into my revision with both feet in the new year. Hoping to start annoying agents–and eventually, the unsuspecting public–with my work as soon as possible.

So, what challenges are you taking on for 2017? What are the best communities to push you forward? What’s made you a better writer?

Ha! I’m not the only one who collects rejections.

I’m working on the most perfect-est query letter in the world right now, and obviously, I’m hoping for success. I’m spelling things correctly, and even punctuating them. I’m also measuring out the exact right amount of glitter to go on the hand-drawn hopeful-unicorn’s wings. (Most guidelines suggest  3.27 grams. I don’t know why.)

In all seriousness, though, I fully expect to add to my rejection collection. It’s all just par for the course.

So, today I bring you this guy… who collects rejections recreationally. (Good looking, funny, and a tireless crusader for that ideal “burger refill.”)

Next Year Will Be Better

I’m thinking of getting myself a “next year will be better” gift. Something splashy that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy. I’m not all that good at splurging, so it took a little effort to convince myself that new shoes and underwear aren’t it.

I’m not looking for some static, shiny object to set on the table. I’m looking for an honest-to-mackerel things will get better, kick-start the progress, something I’ve never done before thing.

The really big things I’vedone for my writing career, so far, are Holly Lisle’s classes, How to Revise Your Novel, and How to Think Sideways. (Yes, and in that order. Long story.) They come with a built-in writing community, so well worth taking the leap, particularly if you happen to be like me. (Marooned hours from the nearest writing group IRL.)

There are plenty of writing books on my shelves, and while some of them are worth the money… I think I have enough, now.

So, I’m thinking in terms of an online-seminar, or… if I can find one that I want to go to close enough to home… a real-life writers’ conference/convention. (Very possible that I’m on the convention end of things.)

The further I get from home–and from places I can couch surf–the more expensive going to conferences gets. So, I’m looking, but I fully expect to wind up doing something on the internet. Which honestly, isn’t that much of a loss.

I like the internet. I love the idea of a place where ideas can exist independently of bodies, if that makes sense.

I’m finishing up a revision, and getting ready to get out there and start querying again. (Probably a ways off, but that’s more or less where I am.) So, I’m looking for something that fits in with that part of the cycle.

Not that I’m going to make up my mind until after the new year. I don’t want any 2016 touching my Thing.

Any suggestions?

Cramming Novels into Nutshells

I’ve been trying to hammer out the details of my query letter.

Which is a fairly diplomatic way of saying I’m trying to cram a hundred thousand years of intergalactic history and culture, a fairly complicated plot, and half a dozen characters–all of whom are more exciting than anyone I know in real life into about two-hundred-and-fifty words. And P.S.: Some of them are blue.

And yes, blue was probably relevant a hundred thousand words ago, back when it was still porn.

Okay. Yeah. I’ll probably leave that part out.

A friend of mine (she doesn’t write, but her minor does) does a pretty good impression of the querying writer. Do you want to represent me? No? How ’bout now? Okay… but what if I add dragon/chipmunk hybrids? No? What about–

I’ve been knocking my head against a wall trying to find just the right words to describe that one necessary piece of intergalactic culture for… well, almost as long as I’ve been writing the book to go with it.

And today–maybe it was that extra cup of coffee–I think I finally got it. I’m closer than before, anyway. I have something that kinda makes sense, and kinda fits.

It took a lot of time to coax that minimalist approach out of my verbose little brain.

So, obviously, the most difficult, most irreplaceable bit of writing I’ve done recently is scribbled across a crumpled scrap of paper in the bottom of my purse. **sigh** Time to dig it out and polish it.

Organizing Query Research–Part The First

Last night, I started working on my agent submissions list for the next novel. I was up a long time, just pulling together a list of names.

Well, a tidy little pile of names. “List” is probably not the right word for this. I have index cards. Lots and lots of index cards. And it’s probably not a complete list… er… pile, right now.

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Each card–right now–has the following information

  1. Agent’s name–One Agent Per card.
  2. Agency name–where this person works
  3. Genres–by which I mean, the genres they represent that I actually write actual full-length fiction in. It’s NOT a list of everything they represent.

And–at this exact moment–I’m focusing on #3 more than anything else. The goal is to find the agent who is the best fit for me, so I’m looking for the person who represents the highest percentage of my hard drive.

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There’s no separate pile for Sci Fi, and Thrillers, but not Fantasy. They’re in that top pile. Personal priorities, but I do think most of my stuff falls on the Sci-Fi side of that line. So, they’re weighted accordingly.

So, there you go. 100+ names triaged into manageable groups.

Here and there–I’m going to admit this up front–there are a few cards that are going to get bumped up a group or two. Most of them are people I’ve already had contact with and liked, and can see myself working well with. The teeny-tiny, fraction of one-percent are people who represent my favorite authors. So, yes, I’m weighting these on emotional considerations, also. Not unduly so, I hope.

So, what about you? Any strategies for organizing you’d like to share?